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Storm could've been worse, authorities say

Credit preparation, warnings for relative calm

POSTED: February 15, 2014 12:01 a.m.

Forsyth County officials planned for the worst but are grateful to have escaped the brunt of it during last week’s winter storm, which left thousands of residents in metro Atlanta and Georgia without power for days.

Karleen Chalker, spokeswoman for the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, said other than four youths injured in separate sledding accidents, it was a relatively incident-free Tuesday afternoon-Friday morning.

“Thankfully, citizens listened to the warnings from us, as well as from the governor and stayed off the roads and so we had a minimal amount of accidents,” she said.

“People were very cooperative, people were helping each other and we had few incidents of power outages where deputies had to assist with closing roadways.”

The first band of winter precipitation arrived Tuesday morning in Forsyth, before tapering off that day. The second arrived early Wednesday, coating the area first in snow and then ice. It lasted off and on through Thursday morning.

The temperature got above 40 degrees Thursday afternoon, triggering a massive melting of snow and ice, some of which refroze overnight. Patches of black ice remained in spots Friday morning.

The Forsyth County school system ended up calling off classes Tuesday-Thursday due to the weather. Friday and Monday (President’s Day) were scheduled holidays, which means students won’t return to campus until this coming Tuesday.

No decision has been made on if or when to make up the missed days.

According to Chalker, some parts of the county received as much as five inches of snow, though “the amount of ice we received was lower than the forecasters predicted.”

While roads did ice across Forsyth, Chalker said the amount wasn’t enough to cause much damage to trees and power lines, meaning few locations lost power and only for short periods of time.

“We were prepared for the worst, but thankfully we didn’t get the worst,” she said.

Chalker credited crews with the state Department of Transportation and the county’s roads and bridges department for working “quickly to try to get any slick spots in the roads cleared and that helped cut down on the number of accidents we probably would have had.”

With the exception of a few cars sliding off roads, there were no major wrecks in the county, she said.

In addition to residents following directions and staying home, it helped that Forsyth wasn’t as hard hit as other counties.

“We were more fortunate than south Atlanta, as well as the eastern part of Georgia,” Chalker said. “We were very fortunate that we began planning for this storm on Sunday.”

 

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